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Old 01-18-2013, 11:59 PM   #1 
mushumouse
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sudden high nitrite?

hi again, i am a little worried about my tank. i currently have my betta in a marineland crescent 3 gallon, using the tetra whisper filter that came with the kit. he's been there a little over a week now or a week and a half, i want to say. there is also a single ghost shrimp in it that i introduced 5 days ago, partly because i want to have a shrimp or two eventually and partly because i'm attempting a fish-in cycle and i was thinking he would be a canary in the mine, so to speak, if anything went wrong.

i have been testing every other day with the api kit for ammonia and nitrites to get a sense of what to expect and make sure i was changing water often enough (planned on 2x/week 50%), and for the first several tries got some amount of ammonia and no detectable nitrites. four nights ago i got the first detectable nitrites, .25 ppm. i changed water as scheduled. two nights later, i couldn't find my shrimp in the tank (false alarm, he was hiding under the heater), so i checked the water for nitrite and ammonia. ammonia was under .25. nitrites were at 5! i changed about 80% of the water immediately, waited half an hour and tested, and i got 0. the next day- tonight- i got home and tested the water again just to be safe... nitrites looked like they were at or over 1 ppm. what is going on? i've read the stickys on cycling, but first of all that makes it seem like this is MUCH too early for this to be happening. i have a very poor sense of time in general, but i know i haven't had this tank for more than 2 weeks, and the fish has been in it for less than that. and second of all, from the descriptions there i was imagining a normal nitrite spike during the cycling process to be around .25-.50 in a day, not more than 1 ppm out of nowhere? i have not changed anything in the last few days except for adding the shrimp, & he hasn't been getting any extra food that would be sitting around the tank, just cleaning the plants & driftwood.

a list of things in the tank:
driftwood
petco aquarium sand
filter, heater & thermometer (i doubt those are the problem...)
java moss
marimo ball
a big nano somethingsomething anubis- doing good
a teeny tiny banana plant- doing so so, it had a few little brown spots & a rough edge when i got it that haven't gone away but it hasn't improved either except to send down another root.
coffee cup cave
api stress coat conditioner

^the only thing that is remotely newish is the coffee cup, which went in with my fish. everything else has been in there since i got the tank. both my fish and shrimp are acting completely normal and are very active. i'm mostly worried this will keep happening. is something i have in there affecting the levels? or am i misunderstanding what is normal and worried over nothing?
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:49 AM   #2 
Otterfun
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Actually I am having similar situation too.
I have Floramix as substrate. pH has been 7.4 to 7.8.
Today is Day 5 of my cycle. It has been 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, 10 Nitrate for past 5 days. I had a 25% change on Day 3.
Today, Day 5, I have 0.25 Ammonia, 0.5 Nitrite, and 40 Nitrate. I did a 50% water change, and things drop back to 0 Ammonia, 0.25 Nitrite, and 20 Nitrate.

I will check again in the morning and see.

I have Fred (red VT), and 2 Japanese Algae Eating Shrimps plus a bunch of plants in it. The potted one next to the heater (our right, heater's left side) is melting because I introduced it to the tank last night. Not sure if it is the culprit for the spike.

Last edited by Otterfun; 01-19-2013 at 03:51 AM.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:33 AM   #3 
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The smaller the volume of water the quicker toxins build up. Go with it, your tank is cycling correctly. Stay on top of testing & water changes as you're doing & you'll be fine.be glad its happening quickly, my 10g took 8 wks to complete its cycle.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:20 AM   #4 
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A three gallon tank won't hold a steady cycle so it will not be the same as if you were cycling a 5gal+ tank. You'll still end up having to do two water changes weekly in a such a small tank whether it has a filter or not.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:39 AM   #5 
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Otterfun, You need a second 50% change.

To both of you, While your tank is cycling you need to be testing daily and do a 50% change any time you see either ammonia or nitrites hit .25ppm. You shouldn't rely on a routine while the tank is ccyling because you will have undetected spikes your fish have to endure and that can make them sick. It's normal to have these if you don't keep a close eye on it. In addition to the daily monitoring, a standard weekly 50% with gravel cleaning (siphon or stir/drip method) is needed. If you have plants just siphon in the bare areas around the plants. Don't disturb them.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:56 PM   #6 
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thanks guys, i'll make sure i'm testing every day now. i tested this morning 12 hours after the last water change and nitrites and nitrates are both still at 0, ammonia detectable but under .25... i'll test again this evening after it's been 24 hours, but it doesn't look to me like there's a big buildup happening again unless it happens literally in hours, fingers crossed. i just noticed that what i thought was tiny scratches in the acrylic is a bloom of hair algae that has grown exponentially, no idea if that's related to these spikes or coincidental.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:25 PM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by callistra View Post
Otterfun, You need a second 50% change.

To both of you, While your tank is cycling you need to be testing daily and do a 50% change any time you see either ammonia or nitrites hit .25ppm. You shouldn't rely on a routine while the tank is ccyling because you will have undetected spikes your fish have to endure and that can make them sick. It's normal to have these if you don't keep a close eye on it. In addition to the daily monitoring, a standard weekly 50% with gravel cleaning (siphon or stir/drip method) is needed. If you have plants just siphon in the bare areas around the plants. Don't disturb them.
Thanks, I checked this morning 0 ammonia, but the nitrite and nitrate went way up so I did a 100% WC w/ vacuum. Since I am new to siphoning, I caused a mini flood in my kitchen. It has been a 3-hr cleanup :(.

Now 0 Ammomia & Nitrite, but still has 20-30 Nitrate. Could it be the liquid fert. that is causing the high nitrate after the 100% WC? Will check again tonight and may need another WC.

Last edited by Otterfun; 01-19-2013 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:29 PM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mushumouse View Post
thanks guys, i'll make sure i'm testing every day now. i tested this morning 12 hours after the last water change and nitrites and nitrates are both still at 0, ammonia detectable but under .25... i'll test again this evening after it's been 24 hours, but it doesn't look to me like there's a big buildup happening again unless it happens literally in hours, fingers crossed. i just noticed that what i thought was tiny scratches in the acrylic is a bloom of hair algae that has grown exponentially, no idea if that's related to these spikes or coincidental.
Yes, I'd say keep checking too since the data is kind of scary to observe within a matter of 8 hrs for me.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:35 PM   #9 
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Callistra offers excellent advice.

I feel it's important to continually debunk the myth that small tanks cannot be cycled. There are numerous keepers on this forum who are running stable, cycled 2.5g and 3g tanks and doing 50% pwcs weekly to remove TDS (total dissolved solids) and DOC (dissolved organic compounds).

A cycled small tank maintains a lower level of toxins more consistently than 2x weekly water changes.

Remember: cycling a tank is not for the convenience of the keeper, but for the health and safety of the fish.

Oh yeah...and lots of live plants regardless of tank size.

Last edited by Hallyx; 01-19-2013 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:59 PM   #10 
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The tank will only keep stable if your filter is has a established amount of bene-bacteria living inside. I find the smaller tanks can maintain a 0 ammonia with my filters for OVER a month without a water change but since it's winter now, I moved all my fish in divided tanks.

Unless I drop a 25W adjustable HEATER in the 1.5G, it doesn't maintain a steady temperature with those 7.5W-10W heating pads. Also the built in lights for the small tanks, are virtually USELESS for any LIVE plants.

Those Tetra in-tank filters are some of my least favorite filters I've ever come across.
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